Law Society launches 'significant' £2m lifeline package for Scotland's solicitors

Scotland’s legal sector regulator has unveiled a package of financial support for the profession worth more than £2 million in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Scottish legal sector regulator has unveiled a package of financial support for the profession in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Scottish legal sector regulator has unveiled a package of financial support for the profession in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Law Society of Scotland said its governing council had agreed that, for the current practice year, the practising certificate fee for every solicitor will be reduced by 20 per cent, the accounts fee paid by law firm partners will be reduced by a similar percentage, while the client protection fund contribution for law firm partners will be cut to zero.

The Edinburgh-based professional body said that, taken together, the package would save the solicitor profession in excess of £2.2m. It follows a series of other changes at the society, including the furloughing of 20 per cent of its staff, a recruitment freeze and other savings for the current operating year.

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John Mulholland, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The Law Society has an important statutory objective to ensure Scotland has a strong, independent and effective legal profession. The economic crisis emerging from the spread of coronavirus places that objective at a historic risk.

“We know that 90 per cent of law firms have faced a reduced turnover as a direct result of coronavirus. Almost a quarter of solicitors in private practice have been furloughed including over 200 trainees. This is why the Law Society is responding with a significant package of financial support at this critical time.

“It means individual solicitors will save up to £380 compared to last year and save many law firms tens of thousands of pounds.

“I want to be clear; this has not been an easy package to agree and has required tough choices to be made. We will be cutting deep into the society’s reserves. It will require several projects to be paused. However, given the circumstances, this is clearly the right thing to do and minimises what solicitors have to pay this year.”

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